Loveladies Tennis Club Men’s Tournament Brings Out Social Aspect of Game

Aug 15, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Kevin Lawlor swats a return shot during his and teammate Joel Kaplan’s championship match in the Loveladies Tennis Club men’s tournament on Aug. 11.

When Mark Edwards spent his first summer in Barnegat Light 12 years ago, he didn’t know too many people. Of course, that had changed over the years. However, a few years ago, he wanted to meet some new people while enjoying some recreation time.

“A friend of mine, Bucky Hayes, introduced me to the club,” said Edwards, referring to Loveladies Tennis Club, at which he and new member Stan Britton competed against Joel Kaplan and Kevin Lawlor in the final of the club’s annual men’s tournament Aug. 11-12. “I had played tennis a couple of times before that, but joining the club was a way to improve my game while meeting new people. It was a great fit.”

The retired U.S. Navy admiral from Vienna, Va. – whose last post was inside the Pentagon – has been playing tennis every week at the club each of the past three summers, and the experience shows in his game. In his late-60s, he gets to the ball well, has a solid serve and delivers plenty of viable groundstrokes.

But what he enjoys most about tennis, and specifically playing at LTC, is the social aspect.

“Here at the club, you get to play with a mixture of players, with different skill levels,” he said. “At some clubs, there are set groups of players always playing amongst each other. Here, it’s easy to join and meet new people, because this club promotes the fun of playing the game through socially interactive events for all the players.”

For Lawlor, who has 20-plus years of court experience, finding a weekend tennis home was important to him after buying the family summer home in Barnegat Light late last August.

“I play year ’round at a couple of clubs in North Jersey,” said the financial adviser from Green Brook. “And what I found with Loveladies Tennis Club is the membership has great camaraderie. Everybody gets along. There’s a good level of play here, and it fosters opportunities to meet people. And the price is right – the fees are very reasonable.”

In what was a bragging-right-only tournament, Lawlor and Kaplan captured those bragging rights with a two-set win over Edwards and Britton. After Kaplan and Lawlor knocked off Bernie Rothman and Herman Tull in the first round, they scored a semifinals victory against Mark Lipton and Jim Gater, who had defeated Philip Kauff and Bill Brinkman in the first round.

Meanwhile, Edwards and Britton were given a bye for the first round, but bounced David Oliner and Doug Bookholdt in the semis, after they ousted Larry Aronson and Sy Koslowski in the first round.

Once in the final, Lawlor and Kaplan jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first set. As thunderstorms approached from the southwest, the tandem withstood a slight comeback from Britton and Edwards but won, 6-4. The next morning, Lawlor and Kaplan completed the straight-set victory.

“This is a great facility and the player levels run the gamut,” said Lawlor, who regularly plays at Beacon Hill Club in Summit as well as Warren Health & Racquet Club. “With a tournament like this, you don’t know who your partner is going to be until you arrive that day, and that’s the fun aspect of how things are done here.”

Of course, during the heart of the summer, scheduling can get a bit wacky – a lot of people want to play in the mornings before it gets too hot – but Lawlor said everything runs smoothly at LTC.

“It’s very structured for Saturdays and Sundays,” he said. “And the people who play here are very committed to keeping to their scheduled time slots on the courts. It’s very efficiently run here.”

The best part of the club, Edwards says, is that most players are simply there to have an enjoyable time on the green-clay courts while getting some exercise.

“You always like to win, but most of us don’t take things too seriously,” he said. “You just come out here, enjoy the game, enjoy the people and do some good things as well.”

A week before the annual women’s tournament, which drew 28 ladies and was won by Karin Goldstein, Laura Murphy, Lori Perdigo and Lisa True, LTC raised nearly $12,000 to benefit the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, during which 55 players participated in the club’s Love/One II event.

“We had a 10 percent increase in players from the year before and, better yet, a 20 percent increase in donations,” said Bob Kopech, who along with his wife, Michelle, organized the fundraiser. “The feedback we received about it was all positive and everybody had a good time. But most importantly, the money’s going to the right place for the right purpose.”

For more about Loveladies Tennis Club, visit loveladiestennis.com.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.